It is hard to fit in; it isn’t any easier to stand out. The back and forth that goes on inside us between wanting to be accepted and fit in like everyone else but also be our own person can be overwhelming. The Bible talks about it as being “tossed to and fro,” using the image of a boat on rough waters. The end result can make you feel sick.
God’s plan for us is to be rock solid, on firm ground, without wavering. In fact, one of Jesus’ miracles was to calm the storm tossing the boat to and fro. They went from a tumultuous ride to smooth sailing at the sound of God’s voice in Jesus. That, right there, is pretty powerful to think about. How often do we allow the voice of God to calm our nerves or sooth our soul? I am blessed to be invited to many homes and hospitals where I come alongside someone facing illness or a medical procedure and bring God’s word of hope to them.
It doesn’t always work that easily though. Sometimes the prayers don’t bring physical healing or a perfect procedure. Sometimes the circumstances worsen or another wave comes at them from a different direction. When this happens, I am reminded of a second miracle. Jesus walked on water in the midst of the storm. Waves were crashing all around Him; wind gusting; lightening flashing; thunder rumbling. It was in the midst of this storm, not the absences of the storm, where Jesus, and ultimately Peter, stood their ground.
In the world around us everyone is clamoring to get ahead. We look to produce a picture we can put on social media; a story we can impress our friends with. We get nervous that our children are “getting behind” in sports or academics or music or socially or…. We get concerned we are getting behind at work, financially, socially and the list goes on here, too! We get so concerned about so many earthly things, we end up causing our own waves to drown us.
Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” John 14:27. When we live and strive for the things the world and our neighbors strive after, we should not be surprised when we end up with the same results. Jesus wants to give us something else. Jesus wants us to see our every need is fulfilled in Him. Our goal isn’t to get ahead, but rather to serve; to seek and save the lost. Our goal is to see the people drowning in their own chaos and offer them salvation through Jesus Christ.
This week, we will see what happens to the Israelites when they want to be like everyone else and demand God gives them a King. They get the same results as the nations around them. Praise God, this opens up opportunities for God to shower them with mercy and forgiveness. Praise God, He doesn’t give like the world gives, but rather grants forgiveness in every circumstance.
His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss